The House resumed at 8 p.m.
Hon. Mr. Grossman moved second reading of Bill 103, An Act to revise the Condominium Act.
Mr. Breithaupt: On June 1, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations introduced Bill 103. At that time, he gave to the House a statement which, I presume, he is not going to repeat at this time. Printed copies of the bill were available on June 5, and we are to debate the principle of this bill just 10 days later.
Since this bill is a complete revision of the earlier Condominium Act, it would ordinarily have been entirely unreasonable to expect quick approval on second reading and, in any event, the final steps of approval in committee or third reading with royal assent before the House would be expected to adjourn a week tomorrow on June 23.
There are, however two reasons why we are able to proceed this evening. The first is that the bill is based on a 100-page report of the Ontario Residential Condominium Study Group which filed its report with the minister in late March. That group had lengthy public hearings and received briefs and submissions while they met in Thunder Bay, Windsor, London, Brampton, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Kingston and the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Those submissions alone were from some 280 interested persons and groups. As a result, the group has very actively canvassed the interested parties in the condominium world.
The second reason we can proceed is that public opportunities have been arranged for, so that any additional comments on this bill may be heard in early October. I understand that tentative arrangements are being made for those hearings in the first and second weeks of October, so that all who have further comments to add may be accommodated at that time.
The process then for this bill will have followed five steps. First, we ‘have had the public hearings and, secondly, the report to which I have referred. As the third step, we see legislation before us which will receive second reading. There will then be the opportunity over the summer months for review of the proposed bill by those persons who are particularly interested. We will then have the opportunity of that fifth stage to have further comments from the public, to which I have referred, during the committee stage of the bill. All those who will be interested can now know the exact legislative view of the government with respect to the comments and suggestions that have been made in the report.
The bill as proposed will make a large number of particular changes. There are some 15 cited generally as themes in the introduction of the bill, and I certainly shall not review them here. I will, however, refer to one of the important changes which is the establishment of a bureau, as it is cited, whose function will be to assist condominium corporations and owners by providing advice, information and a forum for settling disputes. The goals for which that corporation is to be organized are ones which we would all share. We want to turn the comprehensive report of the Ontario Residential Condominium Study Group into better protection for the purchasers.
It is only since 1967 that condominiums have existed in Canada. Now there are some 1,000 corporations with perhaps 100,000 units across Ontario. Originally, the concept was to provide larger units and more square footage of living space for the dollar available to be spent than one could normally otherwise obtain in that price range. Condominiums are a sound idea whose time may not as yet have fully come. This may be because the concept went into effect rather quickly in some areas and perhaps without necessary thought and balance.
However, this period of digesting has now been accomplished, and the result is seen particularly in the idea of the proposal for Condominium Ontario. That kind of a phrase reminds us of everything from GO Transit to many of the other terms which the government has coined over these last several years. I suppose that as long as the provincial flag and the trillium appear prominently on the green and white letterhead, approval for those styles will quickly come from the minister.
Mr. Nixon: He likes his name on it too.
Mr. Warner: The minister is embarrassed.
Mr. Breithaupt: No, he doesn’t embarrass that easily.
Mr. Nixon: We’ve yet to see the day that he is embarrassed.
Mr. Breithaupt: The organization should hopefully, provide a forum to settle many of these disputes that have arisen from time to time in these projects. The organization is going to be providing public information and that, together with the involvement of the 10-day cooling-off idea, is a good addition in these proposals,
I am interested in the matter of the approval process, particularly because I read one comment which suggested that this bill is not particularly referring to some of the difficulties in the approval process for condominiums that at least those who build these projects might wish to have attend to. As a result, I would expect that the builders who are involved in the problems which may be occasioned by certain of these delays will come before the committee to which this bill will be referred so that if there are additional changes which should on balance be included, there will be the opportunity to do so.
I think it is probably unnecessary to recite the various items that are in the bill. Surely we should be able, in my view, to approve this bill quite readily on second reading with the knowledge that there will be substantial public opportunity to suggest the kinds of changes which may be required as the bill moves through its various legislative stages.
As I have said, we have a bill based substantially on a report which was lengthy and which, in turn, was based upon much public input. We have the opportunity then to use that basis upon which to go further and complete legislation that is going to come to a stage of approval and which is going to ensure that persons who have purchased condominiums will have the best balance of protection and involvement that we can provide.
We’re certainly pleased to see that the bill is before us. With the opportunity for public involvement at the committee stage, we have no difficulty in approving the bill on second reading.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Since we’ve been informed that the bill will go to committee stage in late October, there is no need this evening for a lengthy and exhaustive debate on this very important piece of legislation. The real debate will, of course, take place in the committee stage at the justice committee in the first two weeks of October. There are, however, some general matters which I think are in need of clarification and there are a number of other matters that I think should be added to the record tonight so that we establish the proper background for our hearings in October.
It has now been more than a decade since condominium ownership was officially recognized as a distinctive form of tenure in the province of Ontario and condominiums, frankly, have not been the success that some hoped they might have been. That is why, I guess, we have before us a piece of legislation from this ministry which is not an act to amend a bill but rather to revise a bill.
The Legislature and its members have received recommendations for very major changes in this area of legislation, and that statement is not meant to legitimize the nature of the changes proposed by the minister but rather should be seen as a comment on their number, which is legion. I think it is important that we in this House understand just how badly the government has failed in the question of condominiums. Up until this point in time the government’s record has been rather dismal, I am afraid.
It is also, I think, important for us in the Legislature to understand just how serious the problem is that is now before us. According to CMHC, as of December 31, 1977, there were 111,107 completed condominium units in the province of Ontario. At a press conference this past Tuesday, the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) stated that there were approximately 40,000 condominium units completed but unsold in this province. The figure suggests that, apparently, 36 per cent of the units completed to date remain unsold. That means that for every two units that have been sold, one is standing unsold in the province of Ontario.
It is because of that failure of near-crisis proportion in the province that the condominium legislation must be totally overhauled and, in fact, changed drastically and dramatically. Because the government is no longer able to ignore this very serious problem, it has come forward with these recommendations, with these proposals of change to the legislation.
The first step along the path that the government took was the establishment of the Ontario residential condominium study group last year, and the Kealey report, in my estimation at least, did a reasonably good job of outlining the problems condominium owners face in the condominium field.
However, in its recommendations, the Kealey report did not quite keep up with its own standard and the recommendations fell short of meeting the needs of the condominium owners.
This revised Condominium Act that we have before us falls even further short of reaching the Kealey report than that report did of meeting the original needs and as such I think we can quickly judge it to be at best inadequate. The minister, to be fair with him, has never purported or suggested that the changes he is bringing forward are anything more than an attempt to fully deal with the consumer protection aspect of the condominium problem. However, I suspect many people who own condominiums would agree with me when I say that it falls short, even in this limited endeavour.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Then vote against it.
Mr. Warner: Don’t be provocative.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Fortunately, we are interested in solving a very real problem. We very well understand the nature of minority government. We have a real desire not only to make minority government work but to solve the problems of condominium owners. We are quite happy to work with you --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: So you will support it?
Mr. Wildman: We are trying to get you to listen.
Mr. M. N. Davison: -- so that those owners can be provided with legislation that will properly meet their needs.
Mr. Warner: You put out the crumbs and we make cookies out of them.
Mr. M. N. Davison: That’s the purpose of the exercise from this side of the House. If you see some other purpose, that’s your business.
Mr. Lawlor: You are starting to lead a kind of fantasy life. You see bogey men everywhere.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. M. N. Davison: That’s why he sleeps with the light on at night.
Fortunately for us and fortunately for the condominium owners in the province, it’s going to be possible to amend this legislation during committee stage so that we can put some teeth into it and animate this paper lion that the minister’s constructed.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Paper tiger.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Paper tiger? Okay.
Mr. Lawlor: A paper tiger that will bite.
Mr. M. N. Davison: I suspect the minister did as good a job as he could selling this to his cabinet colleagues --
Ms. Gigantes: We don’t know, and we don’t count on it now.
Mr. M. N. Davison: No? Oh well.
Mr. Warner: Don’t bet on it. We know about beer in the ball park.
Mr. M. N. Davison: The government’s failure to act in areas such as the reduction of costs through improved registration and approval processes, the overcharging for municipal services and the inadequate construction standards is really beyond the understanding of people who have seen this legislation.
The minister justified this rather typical lethargy on June 1 when he stated in the House, “The ministries of Housing and Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs, the municipalities and the building code branch of my ministry all have a role to play in the revision of the front-end processes. We have had submissions about the efficacy of the process from virtually every sector. Because of the great divergence of opinion, the planning and approval stages require careful thought. It is essential that we move cautiously in these areas and explore fully the ramifications on municipalities. Therefore, we will be reviewing the following,” and he sets out those three areas.
Perhaps I could read the minister’s words back to him once again: “1. Processes by which condominium projects are approved and registered in order to reduce the time and cost of developments; 2. municipal planning standards and provisions of services to improve the amenity of condominium living and lower operating costs; 3. Building codes as they apply to condominium construction as part of our continuing review of the building code.”
I would assume from that, as I am sure most of us in the House would at this time, that the minister had some idea the legislation would be passed relatively quickly. I guess viewing it from the perspective of June 1, perhaps he had in mind the date June 23.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Ever the optimist.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Now that it is quite apparent that it will be almost four months, almost a third of a year, before we get to committee stage with this legislation, I am sure the minister would like to adjust that position.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We might as well take it now. Do you want to go to third reading?
Mr. M. N. Davison: Now there’s plenty of time for those ministries involved to get their acts together so that in October the minister can provide the justice committee with a position paper or, better yet, draft legislation. Then when the committee sits down in October for two weeks to do its work, they could do what they should be doing -- that is, studying the entire matter of condominiums in its entirety rather than this piecemeal approach. As of June 1, 1978, this was the minister’s position and frankly, Mr. Minister, this is not adequate.
The minister has failed to fully resolve -- as a matter of fact he’s even failed to really talk about -- the question of over-assessment of condominiums between 1971 and 1975. It is the position of my party today, as it has always been on this issue, that the government should ensure that rebates are paid by the province to all overassessed condominium owners.
One of the major problems facing owners in the field of condominiums is that of property management firms. This issue has, by the minister’s legislation, in effect, been left to the industry to resolve for themselves. That, as we know in Ontario, is not always the best way to approach these matters although it is the favourite approach of the government to such matters.
Frankly, the establishment of -- what do you call it? -- Condominium Ontario: that’s a body with very limited authority. Only 50 per cent of its membership is composed of condominium owners; and on behalf of the owners, let me say that that organization will not be able to provide any real incentive for the industry to impose standards on itself.
If the minister and the government weren’t always so quick to reject regulation as if it was a disease --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It often is.
Mr. Wildman: Only when you’re administering it. You are a cancer.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: But benign.
Mr. Makarchuk: I’m not too sure about that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Not terminal.
Mr. M. N. Davison: -- he might have understood that the only way to proceed properly if we are going to solve the problem is through direct regulation of property management firms by a registrar of condominiums. That’s rather simple to see.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: More regulation.
Mr. M. N. Davison: But the minister and the government seem to have a Pavlovian reaction to the word regulation. They always abandon it without even trying it, without even looking at it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Look who is talking.
Mr. M. N. Davison: While in some cases that may be a good idea --
Mr. Makarchuk: It would be better to get rid of the minister than the regulations.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Order, Mac.
Mr. M. N. Davison: The minister will have a chance to respond to these mild and gentle suggestions later on in the debate.
Mr. Lawlor: You are known as the minister of regulations, aren’t you?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: De-regulations.
Mr. M. N. Davison: I’m sure that during the next few months, and during the committee meetings, the minister is going to enter into the debate in the spirit of listening to everyone who comes before the committee, to everyone who approaches the minister; and that he will, to some extent, be able to leave behind him when he enters the committee room his prejudices and his biases --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: There is not a prejudiced bone in my body.
Mr. M. N. Davison: -- and the Tory dogma that he surrounds himself with. I trust that when the minister properly understands the facts --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Oh, that’s my problem.
Mr. M. N. Davison: -- he will be willing to change his mind and be willing to accept a position -- support a position that will more properly meet the needs of condominium owners, who are the ones who are suffering right now.
Mr. Warner: You might as well try to melt cement.
Mr. M. N. Davison: If I might conclude, our party will on second reading support this legislation, not so much for what the legislation does, but rather because it is a revision of the act which therefore lends itself very nicely to very broad and very serious amendments; so that when we adopt legislation upon third reading and pass it into law, we will have in place an excellent piece of legislation which other jurisdictions will look to, and which will adequately and properly meet and protect condominium owners’ interests.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Carleton East.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: At least she knows what she is talking about; now we will learn something.
Mr. Swart: You just listen there, Larry.
Ms. Gigantes: It is a pleasure to be able to participate briefly in this debate --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Now I will listen; she knows what she is talking about.
Mr. M. N. Davison: What are you so agitated about this evening?
Ms. Gigantes: If I could suggest, Mr. Speaker, the minister seems like the lady who doth protest too much. He is a little overly defensive these days.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: What about the man who protests? Don’t be chauvinistic -- the man who protests.
Mr. Lawlor: That thick skin is getting very thick.
Ms. Gigantes: I think he is going to have to learn to change his mind just a little bit more than he has just over the last week or so. He has seen the light on rent review, and I think given a few more weeks of discussion of this legislation he can be brought to see the light on the review of condominium legislation in this province.
Mr. Lawlor: Never; never that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Never open minded; never malleable.
Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, I will be brief. My interest in condominium legislation arises from the fact that in the riding of Carleton East we have a very large number of condominiums. Further, I am one who has had the experience personally, so I have something of a personal interest in this bill. I have learned that the experiences in the riding of Carleton East have been very much like the experiences in other parts of the province. I have learned this from other condominium associations and groups, and also from colleagues in the Legislature reporting on what is happening in the areas they represent.
This bill was a long time coming. The original condominium legislation, when it came into effect in Ontario back in 1970, was far from perfect. It was wide open to abuse by developers and it was abused.
By 1974, when I had the privilege of being a candidate for the New Democratic Party in the by-election held in Carleton East, it was quite clear there was a crisis in condominiums in Ontario.
Mr. Nixon: That was before anyone ever heard of Darwin Kealey.
Mr. Martel: Darwin who?
Ms. Gigantes: I didn’t win that election so I didn’t have a chance in the fall of 1974 to bring those concerns to this Legislature. But when I ran again in 1975, my Conservative opponent was a worthy gentleman named Darwin Kealey.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Conservative.
Ms. Gigantes: He still is a worthy gentleman. Darwin and I developed a --
Mr. M. N. Davison: Even the minister likes him, eh?
Mr. Warner: Protect him, Larry, he needs all the help he can get.
Ms. Gigantes: Darwin and I developed the kind of political relationship I like to have with my Conservative opponents, and that is the relationship where I win. It’s a very satisfying one.
Mr. Makarchuk: An excellent relationship.
Ms. Gigantes: There is no doubt in my mind that poor Darwin would have had a much better chance in the riding of Carleton East if he had understood the problems of condominium corporations.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If she lost she would have got the job -- the Gigantes study.
Mr. Martel: I doubt it.
Mr. Breithaupt: Both had a chance to learn.
Ms. Gigantes: I recall very well being at an all-candidates meeting where an enraged group of condominium owners had to listen to Mr. Kealey suggest that in order to be able to bring about some change in the situation they were in, where they were being double taxed at the local level, perhaps they should withhold their municipal taxes. They almost threw him out of the hall.
Mr. Makarchuk: Those Tories are anarchists.
Ms. Gigantes: That was the Conservative candidate’s approach to one of the major problems facing condominium corporation owners then, and one which remains in spite of this bill.
The minister decided we were going to have to have a lengthy review of the situation, in spite of the fact the word came from Carleton East and from other ridings around this province that there was a crisis in condominium legislation. There was a crisis in the way that condominiums were being sold in the province of Ontario and the ways people were being ripped off, there is no nicer word available for it.
The figures on the number of unsold units speak for the dramatic public resistance to purchasing condominium units that arose because of those inadequacies in legislation and the ways in which the public was ripped off in condominium ownership. The minister decided we must have a long, lengthy study, which he initiated after Mr. Kealey lost for the second time in 1977.
Mr. Martel: Twice.
Ms. Gigantes: By this time Mr. Kealey had learned something of the problems of condominium ownership and he set about that study, I think with great conviction. As my colleague from Hamilton Centre (Mr. M. N. Davison) has pointed out, what the report of that study gave us was an excellent outline of the problems and not very much in terms of hard recommendations to deal with those problems.
This bill reflects the inadequacies of that report. There are three areas in which this bill simply does not meet very grave needs of condominium owners. The structural deficiencies that were built in and are being built into condominium developments are not responded to by this legislation whatsoever. There is no real protection for a condominium group, or for condominium owners as individuals when they buy a building and find it is falling apart or working badly. There has to be that kind of protection.
There has also to be some kind of proposal from the government whereby owners who have been ripped off in the past will get redress. It should be redress that comes in a form that does not involve expensive lawsuits against developers who may well have gone out of business by now, or at least changed corporate names and structures.
Let me give you one example of what I’m talking about on this subject. Across Elmsmere Road, which is the road I live on, there is a condominium named the Hillsview Towers. There’s a gentleman who lives in the Hillsview Towers named Ed Tremblay. He’s a fireman. He got burned in one condominium project, called Sutton Place, also in Carleton East. As a fireman, he decided he was going to take financial fire prevention measures about the purchase of his second condominium.
He watched as the building went up, noted the kind of construction going on and the way design specs were not being met. When he moved into the condominium and it became registered, he immediately worked on the maintenance committees of the condominium corporation of Hillsview Towers.
Over a period of four years, two of which he was the president of the condominium corporation, he amassed a document this thick. It was a compilation of documents and his correspondence with every authority who moved that he could appeal to for help about the condition of that building.
He finally got a lucky break, and his condominium corporation too was very lucky, because among the owners in the Hillsview Towers was one Senator Molgat, former president of the Liberal Party of Canada who arranged a meeting --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That’s a lucky break.
Ms. Gigantes: -- between Mr. Tremblay and the well-known Mr. Teron, who runs CHMC.
Mr. Wildman: He’s a Liberal too.
Ms. Gigantes: Yes, he’s a Liberal, too; he’s a well-known Liberal.
Mr. Makarchuk: They’ve always been screwing the people.
Mr. Philip: Point of order. That’s not parliamentary.
Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Teron, in turn, arranged for Mr. Tremblay to meet various officials of CMHC --
Mr. Warner: He hides behind bushes.
Ms. Gigantes: -- who then went to the development company in question and said: “If we finance an independent engineering review of the complaints made by the condominium corporation will you undertake to repair whatever the independent review shows to be deficient?” The company, to its credit, said, yes. That company was Minto Development, and I think it deserves credit for that.
What this independent engineering review discovered was out of dozens -- and as I recollect, the number was somewhere up in the 80s -- of major complaints about the structure of that building, well over 80 per cent were upheld. Eighty per cent of those complaints were upheld by the independent engineering arbitration.
Minto, again to its credit, said: “Fine, we said we’d carry out the repairs, and we will.” I estimate, and Mr. Tremblay, who has spent a good deal of time, over four years, estimates those repairs were probably worth, to the condominium owners, if they had had to undertake them themselves, somewhere up in the range of $1 million. That’s on one building.
Furthermore, one of the points the independent engineering arbitration awarded was a problem with the plumbing. The problem was the hot water pipe was set right next to the cold water pipe. That meant everybody on the top floor was running their cold water for several minutes in order to get cold water. That cost the condominium corporation money.
Minto said: “We’re not going to tear out every pipe in all the walls in this building. We’ll give you a flat annual payment for your costs on this one.” Mr. Tremblay said: “Fine, that sounds good to me.” Minto said: “How much do you think it would be?” Mr. Tremblay said: “I’m not an expert on this, but I reckon about $10,000 a year.” Minto said: “You’ve got to be kidding.” Mr. Tremblay said: “Well, if you don’t agree with that figure, go and do your own tests on it and give me your estimate. Then we’ll discuss it.”
Minto did that and came back to him and gave him a contract that said that it would provide $10,000 a year every year to that condominium corporation. That’s just one little point. It’s worth $10,000 because the pipes were put in wrong. They never met the building specs as designed, it wasn’t built as designed.
There is no protection in this legislation for consumers who have been ripped off in this way and haven’t been as lucky as to have somebody with Mr. Tremblay’s knowledge and perseverance, and also to have Senator Molgat living in the building. In fairness to the development company, it was willing to say: “Yes, if we have provided you with a building that’s less than it should be and if that’s proven to us by an independent arbitration, we will make good the repairs that need to go in.” Most condominium corporations are not in that situation, and this legislation is not going to help them.
The second point that this legislation really doesn’t deal with -- nor did the Kealey report though he outlined the problem most clearly -- is the problem of double taxation. That happens to every condominium owner who lives in a development which has less than standard municipal services or physical features installed in it, or roads that can’t be ploughed by the municipality and for which a municipality will take no responsibility. The fire hydrants have to be maintained by the corporation. The lighting in the street has to be maintained by the corporation.
That goes on and on with services that should be municipal. Yet there is nothing in the way that condominium corporations are being assessed that at all compensates for the fact they are paying for these services which are provided through normal municipal taxation for other home owners. There is double taxation going on. This legislation does not say a word about it nor has the minister nor does the Kealey report.
When the minister told us he has delayed legislation for so long so as to be able to bring in a package, I don’t think that’s adequate. Either we get something in terms of a commitment from this minister to deal with double taxation or we can’t accept that this is a package that deals with the real problems of condominium owners.
My colleague from Hamilton centre mentioned also the outfit that’s going to be known as Condominium Ontario, the bureau that is supposed to operate on behalf of condominium owners. I find that’s an absolutely outrageous proposal, that after all they’ve had to suffer over the last eight years under existing legislation and the kind of ripoff we’ve seen in condominium sales and developments, condominium owners should now be asked to pay for what should be a government-administered bureau that provides them with some decent services so that they can have a minimum kind of guarantee of government involvement and control over condominium developments in Ontario.
That is a I absolutely ludicrous. I don’t know how the minister has the gall to propose it. After they’re down, he kicks them. It’s just an incredible proposal. I’m sure the minister is going to change his mind on that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No.
Mr. Makarchuk: Do you mean even if the committee suggests it?
Ms. Gigantes: I promised I would be brief.
Mr. Lane: Don’t say anything.
Ms. Gigantes: I look forward very much to be able to participate in the process of changing the minister’s mind about the efficacy of this legislation.
Mr. Makarchuk: He said he was open-minded. He is close-minded.
Mr. Martel: He is going to withdraw the bill.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am going to go to the people.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Ms. Gigantes: -- and helping my colleagues present amendments that will meet some of the very severe problems which --
Mr. Wildman: He is not open-minded, but empty-headed.
Ms. Gigantes: -- are left untouched in this legislation and for which this minister really has failed to meet his promise that he would bring in an adequate kind of reform package in condominium legislation.
Mr. Philip: I rise in support of the bill, but I must admit I do so with considerable hesitancy. I guess my feeling about the bill can best be summarized in words --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Fantastic, deliriously pleased.
Mr. Philip: -- that have already been used to the minister; words that were used by a representative of the Ontario Condominium Association, who after reading the bill and meeting with the minister on Monday said, and I quote -- the minister will recall these words -- “We expected a feast and we got a few crumbs.” That is what this bill is.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: They won’t vote for your party next time.
Mr. Wildman: Fantastic crumbs though.
Mr. Philip: I think there’s a few more than that. You will find that if you talk to some of the condominium owners in Ontario.
Ms. Gigantes: Don’t be silly; why are you so defensive?
Mr. Wildman: A crumb is better than half a loaf though.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Relax, relax.
Mr. Philip: I think that if the minister would listen to some of the condominium owners, he would realize there may be more opposition from the condominium owners than Mr. Handleman provides for them in the justice committee on certain bills.
Hon. Mr Grossman: That would be hard to do, that would be a lot of opposition.
Mr. Philip: That will be a lot of opposition, Mr. Minister.
Mr. Swart: Think what would happen if you were promoting French.
Mr. Philip: If I may continue, because I am sure the minister is deeply interested in my comments.
As a condominium owner myself, and a representative of my own condominium on the Etobicoke Condominium Association, I resent the fact that the government has ignored the major complaints of condominium owners that have been presented over and over and over again to the Kealey commission -- faulty construction, poor maintenance, and double or excessive taxation.
This bill falls very short in meeting the problem of faulty construction. I challenge the minister to explain to the residents in my riding in the Martingrove area why they must wait one and half years to get repairs to their homes under the Home Warranty Plan. I challenge him to explain to the residents of York West, the riding south of me represented by a Conservative member, why they most suffer fungus or mould on the walls of their dream home apartments, which they have spent so much money for.
At least 12 units in that project, in one building and five units in the next-door building, both built by the same developer, are suffering from this problem. The builder insults the intelligence of myself as a member of the Legislature, of the new owners of those apartments, and of the press who have closely examined and taken pictures of that project when he tries to say it is a hygiene problem. An awful lot of people in the honourable member for York West’s (Mr. Leluk) riding must have hygiene problems, then, if that is the case.
The maintenance problems haven’t been answered by the bill. Indeed, the minister has the audacity to provide that the condominium owners must pay for the professional development of the managers, that’s what this bill does. I don’t know of any other professions that have their professional development paid for by some other person.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: What section is that?
Mr. Philip: I’ll give the minister the section in a second if you need to refer to it. It is the section that deals with Condominium Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Okay, we will wait.
Mr. Philip: No, the minister doesn’t have to wait. I just told him where it is. If he were as familiar with the bill as I am -- maybe he can get Darwin to explain it to him. He will be glad to show it to the minister.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If you are so familiar, just read out the section to me. What section is it?
Mr M. N. Davison: I don’t think the minister has read the bill.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, order.
Mr. Philip: We’ll be debating it section by section. It’s Condominium Ontario, and the minister clearly -- now stop trying to mislead the House.
Mr. Makarchuk: The minister will get it on second reading.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, order. I would just like to remind the members that this is not a question and answer period.
Mr. Philip: The problem of over taxation or double taxation which was discussed time and again by condominium owners who appeared before the Kealey commission was ignored by that commission, except for one paragraph that said words to the effect that there’s very little that we can do about it.
Now the minister adds injury to insult. After years of doing nothing to protect condominium owners or to service them, he sets up Condominium Ontario, and to this he adds an extra tax -- or fee or whatever you want to call it, but it is an extra tax on condominium owners of $5 to $10 a year. Then he admits to me in the House when he first gives his statement regarding the bill that it is really a kind of open-ended thing and it might go a lot higher than that.
Those who have suffered from double taxation get one additional tax added to them. Not only that, but he doesn’t even provide for the kind of seed money which most responsible governments provide for new projects.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Whoever said he was responsible.
Mr. Philip: One would even think at least, if he were trying to be responsible, he would provide for the cost of operation for the first two or three years of Condominium Ontario. He fails to do that. Not only has the minister not listened to condominium owners on major issues, but after all of the study, and after all of the expense of the Kealey commission, he still doesn’t even understand some of the simplest problems of condominium owners.
In clause-by-clause debate in October, we will be pointing out many of these faults. Let me just provide one example of this kind of problem.
In section 37 of the bill, regarding the reserve fund, the minister talks about five per cent of the amount required for the contributions to the common expenses exclusive of the reserve fund -- five per cent. Anyone who has been involved with condominiums knows five per cent is a paltry amount. While the principle of a reserve fund which is not refundable on the sale of a unit is a good principle, five per cent is simply a sop to the developer. The developer will see five per cent as a maximum and that is what he will pay.
In fact, those people who have been involved with condominiums will point out that as high as 15 per cent is a sensible amount in a deferred fund, and possibly another 15 per cent in a deferred maintenance fund. The minister’s own staff person, I believe his name is Mr. Simpson, in a meeting with the Ontario Condominium Association, suggested eight per cent might be a reasonable amount; but five per cent is what is included in this bill.
If we go through it clause by clause, we see some of the tremendous impracticalities of the bill. I don’t want to take up time on second reading to point out all of these, but we will be doing clause-by-clause examination and pointing them out. For example, the quorum the bill suggests and the quorum for bylaw changes is just unrealistic and unreasonable when you talk to condominium boards and directors. The minister knows that, because the members of the Ontario Condominium Association in their meeting with him on Monday pointed these problems out to him. Yet we didn’t see any change in his attitude. We will, of course, see considerable change in the clause-by-clause debate.
I think the best summary I could do on this bill would be to give a detailed summary of the initial comments of condominium owners. I would like to do that. I would like to read a letter which was written by Mrs. Monica Rouleau, the vice-president of the Etobicoke Condominium Association. She was not speaking only on her own behalf because I checked it out this evening on the telephone.
I read the letter to the president of the Etobicoke Condominium Association, Mr. Terry Littlefield. I said: “In fact, does this seem to represent the kinds of things you feel, and the Ontario Condominium Association felt when it had an opportunity to meet with the minister?” After I read that letter to him, Mr. Littlefield said: “Yes, that seems to express some of our gut reaction to some of the problems, although we pointed out many other problems to him as well.”
I would just like to read into the record the views of one condominium owner. She is probably the one person who has done more than anyone else in building condominium associations in this province. Mrs. Rouleau writes in the Etobicoke Guardian, June 14, “The new Condominium Act has finally reached the Ontario Legislature. it is more voluminous than the old act; 60 sections instead of 26 sections. But bigger is not necessarily better. Sure the new act is mainly directed towards future condominiums; the best new proposition probably being my very own recommendation which gained prolonged applause at the public hearings of the Kealey study group. From now on, developers have to hand over warranties as-built and as-built plans, to the elected owners’ boards of directors on takeover from the developer. This hardly ever happened up until now and created endless hardships and problems to existing condominiums.
“Where I have trouble with the new act is that in spite of the public outcry at the public hearings, occupancy fees -- that is, rent -- until registration are still with us. This is one of the hottest issues, since the developers sometimes made an astonishing amount of money on top of purchase price by delaying registration through slow selling. Now developers have to take ‘reasonable steps.’”
The words “reasonable steps” are in quotation marks. It’s amazing how “reasonable” is used over and over and over again. I’m not a lawyer, but my legal friends tell me how hard it is to prove what is reasonable in a court of law. It’s found over and over and over again in this bill, always in relation to what the developer must do. One wonders how those who are accusing the developer will ever collect under those kinds of circumstances in the legislation of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Mr. Lawlor: It’s not confined to the lawyers. “Reasonable” is fairly pervasive. It’s rather hard to find.
Mr. Ashe: I’m sure you fellows have more.
Mr. Philip: Getting back to the letter: “It’s also hard to comprehend why the minister set the reserve fund at a minimum of five per cent, which is not sufficient, except to throw a bon-bon to the developer who now has to establish the fund before the owner takeover.
“What is really hard to take is that the block marketing of its units to investors is now possible by law. Nobody who has not lived in a condominium can appreciate the problems that absentee landlords cause. Blocks of rental units are totally detrimental to the condominium concept.”
If I may digress from the letter for just a moment: As I listened to presentation after presentation before the Kealey commission, at least in the Toronto area, one condominium association after another brought up the whole problem of absentee landlords. Mr. Kealey at least tried to listen to that, but there’s no reflection of that in the bill.
“The bill goes even farther. Developers have created a demand for rental units through overbuilding of condominiums. Let them rectify the market, but not at the cost of unmanageable condominiums.
“Existing condominiums had looked to the Kealey report and the new act for some relief from their manifold problems. Two issues are overshadowing everything else: the high property tax on condominiums for municipal services not rendered but paid double through maintenance fees, that is, snow removal, sewers, street maintenance and street lighting; and the request for low-interest government loans to rectify major structural deficiencies which we hope will now be taken care of by HUDAC, but which could drive condominiums built before 1977 into bankruptcy.
“A precedent to make this demand feasible was set by the Ontario Home Renewal Plan. The new Condominium Act is not relieving financial hardship; but it is adding to it. Instead of the government registrar we have pleaded for at the public hearings, Larry Grossman, Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, opted for a bureau, Condominium Ontario, which will be financed by condominium owners at $5 to $10 per unit annually, a small price to pay if it is efficient in what it has set out to do.
“But why add insult to injury and put the bureau in charge of setting up management courses? Property management firms realize good profit out of their condominium management; that’s why they are popping up all over the place. Let them pay for their own courses. The government should have also complied with the condominium owners’ request insisting that they are licensed.”
That is the view of a condominium organizer, a person who has organized on behalf of condominium owners and somebody who was elected by the condominium owners’ associations in the borough of Etobicoke, consisting roughly of four ridings in this city.
The minister has failed to deal with the basic problems of condominium owners. We accept that a good many sections of this bill are valuable. I was particularly pleased to see section 60, which will deal with the whole problem of the way in which certain people can get around condominium conversion bylaws in converting rental buildings to condominiums without going through the proper channels which the municipalities have decided are appropriate. There are other sections of this bill which also make a lot of sense.
We look forward to the clause-by-clause consideration. Members of this caucus will be meeting, as has been requested, with not only members of the Ontario Condominium Association, but also other condominium groups, throughout the summer, and I look forward to being part of the justice committee that will be debating this bill clause by clause in the first two weeks in October.
Mrs. Campbell: I’m going to be brief, Mr. Chairman. I welcome the bill. The reason I welcome it is the opportunity to fully debate all of the bill in conjunction with those who have been eagerly awaiting the amended legislation. I’m not going to go into it clause by clause as some appear to have done. I don’t think it comes to grips with many of the problems of the condominium people as they are evidenced in my riding, but then I hope that in committee I will be able to deal with the aspects of the problems which are not very carefully considered in this legislation.
I suppose one of the major problems in my riding is people having to deal with latent defects in the building, and I don’t see the warranty program covering those. As far as HUDAC are concerned, they don’t go into the history of the person who has built shoddily; they simply take everybody in. I’m astounded that this could go on. So I have no such hope for the HUDAC kind of operation.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: There was a lot of support from the parties to that.
Mr. Makarchuk: They’re not doing a good job, Larry.
Mrs. Campbell: I hope we will be able to bring forward into that committee the people with the stories to tell so that the minister may have an opportunity to hear at first hand, not just the people whom he regards as partisan, but also those people -- who are probably partisan but not politically partisan -- who wish to plead their cause before an all-party committee of this Legislature.
When we have these hearings, I hope we will make provision for the numbers that I expect will attend to express themselves, and that we will have adequate space for such hearings, because I expect that we will have many people, very expert as a result of their experience with the animal, who can help to bring enlightenment to this legislation.
I really believe that when the bill comes out of committee it may be a very vastly different bill. I hope it is. I think that all legislation can stand improvement, but this bill is a difficult one. I know the minister has sincerely tried to meet some of the problems which have surfaced, but I have to say with regret that in my view he hasn’t addressed himself in depth to many of the issues which are burning throughout the ridings of this province.
Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Speaker, I believe this is called the Condominium Act. I remember on a previous occasion seeing a similar bill. Down through the years, we have had numerous variations on the theme, and they are always a kind of degradation. This is quite an improvement on the whole, if I may say so from a purely quixotic legal point of view, of course.
I remember when the first act was brought into this House. The salient feature of it remains as certain remarks made by the erstwhile member of this assembly, Mr. Vernon Singer, Mr. Singer said then, and he said three years later, that as a practising lawyer he would not accept a real estate transaction having anything to do with condominiums in his office. He felt the possibilities of a lawsuit against him for some kind of remote failure were diverse and numerous. They still are.
The legislation is covering one or two in the process. I mean the pitfalls had to do with the entrance into the contract. There was no protection. I have one in my office at the moment; and it is not all that different, you know. That condominium is not registered, and those people are going to have to move in very shortly. I don’t expect it will be registered before they do move in. How that is done, don’t ask me. I am only the lawyer on the deal.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: What are their names, Pat?
Mr. Lawlor: I am told, “There is no point in looking at the title to see whether the people who are pretending to sell it are the owners and have the right to sell it under the terms and conditions under which they might do so because it is not registered yet.” So we sit and wait and twiddle our thumbs until this is done.
The minister does have some Planning Act provisions in this. Whether he will take as his area of responsibility to any degree speeding up that process, et cetera, and establishing title before people get into occupancy and possession, I am not sure. We will, no doubt, find out in committee the extent and ambit he deems to be his authority in this particular regard.
Then, of course, we have the whole plethora upon us. No wonder people didn’t want to buy condominiums; as they became more and more acquainted with them they found the snares and the mare’s nest of difficulties were labyrinthine and manifold, so that neither the legal profession nor the individuals who got caught in the snare -- and the amazing thing is there were really on the whole so few people who were so pilloried and became disgruntled as a result; but there have been enough to bring about the legislation before us tonight, because the gaps and the traps were far too numerous and too many individuals were shying away.
I don’t know what the situation is at the moment, but six months ago you could not sell a condominium. Somebody who owned a condominium could not resell it in Etobicoke. The prices of condominium units are falling all over the place for precisely that reason.
I don’t know if what my colleague has said is part of your legislation or not, except you do make mention of the model building code which falls, of course, within your jurisdiction. In any event, it wasn’t long ago when people came to see me on constituency business largely from Mississauga. I haven’t too many condominiums in my own area. I do half of what Kennedy is supposed to be doing anyway in this particular regard.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Half as well.
Mr. Lawlor: They had moved in and were on, I think, the second or third floor. The condominium developer had seen fit to establish both showers and sauna bath on the first floor just below them, without making any provision for air conditioning or for cooling down the premises. So there wafted up, in warm weather and in cold, innumerable stinks, smells, odours of sanctity and otherwise, and an enormous temperature. They went all that winter with their windows wide open in the hope of receiving a breath of fresh air.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Look at their heating bill; it was practically nothing.
Mr. Lawlor: Well, this construction problem and the business of the frippery and corner-cutting with respect to developers in this area is commonplace, where on the seventh floor of a condominium, you can hear the fullest extent of the love whispers being consummated on the beds seven floors below. This is commonplace and you haven’t made any adequate provision for that particular kind of thing.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We will add an amendment.
Mr. Breithaupt: No extra charge.
Mr. Kerrio: Save you money. You don’t have to buy a TV.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The province of Ontario has no place in the bedrooms of condominiums.
Mr. Lawlor: And so Mr. Singer felt that he would shy clear of this and forfeit the little largesse he made from time to time on the side. I suppose living out there today in burgeoning circumstances -- I haven’t seen the beggar since he left -- he still doesn’t take condominium deals, and I suppose we can all commiserate with him and say, “Starve to death, you wretch, but keep your fingers clean.”
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He’s probably acting for the developers now. He acts for the builders now. It’s easier.
Mr. Lawlor: Now I quite blindly, despite the lack of legislation, have gone forward with those deals and I haven’t yet been sued once. I just pray while I do them and close my eyes. After a few years everything washes away --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: And the liability insurance is always there.
Mr. Lawlor: And the liability insurance remains if I can only remember the company I had it with.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: But I have to pay for yours. I don’t like paying for yours. We all paid it together.
Mr. Lawlor: You haven’t had to pay a penny yet. Hold on to your hat. It may come any day, as you know. The only thing that counts, is what you do to this particular profession, and it comes up 10 years later invariably, after you have completely forgotten how sinful you were in the past.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Our executors can worry about it.
Mr. Lawlor: Now you see written in the covenants here, covenants with a vendor to take all reasonable steps to register a declaration. You remember the old days when they wouldn’t register the darn things. They would sit and sit for 18 months, 24 months. Why? They were pulling in the rental fee.
Let me tell the House, incidentally, that occupancy fee in the legislation ought to be included in the declaration; the declaratory statement that was set up that is given to a purchaser and which, on the occasion in question, he may withdraw from. He has 10 days after that statement is delivered to pull out of the deal. By the way, that statement is delivered quite far on. He may be in occupancy for a very long time before the time for that statement comes into fruition, and at that particular time he may pull out of the deal.
It seems to me that the statement should say precisely what that occupancy fee is, in advance of his moving in so he knows where he stands. The minister has provided for a number of other things but not that. I think it’s an oversight. I think the minister should get it in there, switch it over I mean.
There was nothing more irritating, and still today, there is nothing more irritating for people who have, for the first time in their lives, been able to get out of an apartment which they didn’t like -- many people don’t -- and into their own dwelling, and that’s what a condominium is deemed to be, and begin the long, hard, tortuous process of paying for the thing so at the end of the day they are fee simple owners with something garnered, some capitalization made, something that as they get older they could perhaps sell; in any event, not just giving it away in exorbitant rentals such as the minister is advocating by his present purblind policies of seeking to lift the rental restrictions as they are at present. The minister knows there would be a ripoff immediately if that were done. The whole society is one vast, greedy ripoff. He subsidizes it and bows his head. Well, bow it in shame, my friend.
I suppose we will learn the truth tomorrow morning. The brave bulls will be in the arena and we will find out where the minister stands on that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Have I ever let you down before?
Mr. Lawlor: In any event, they perpetuated the situation, and still do, where people do not get into the process of paying off the principal and becoming owners, with the pride of ownership in this particular regard, but are extended indefinitely on the basis of the way the system works at present.
Nothing could be more regressive and defeatist with respect to the condominium concept. Listen, it’s a profoundly socialist concept. It is the one form of ownership that recognizes community, that people share, and that when they become owners of property they take an enormous responsibility along with them. People who want to live in blank houses and throw no stones, those who want to live in isolation from other human beings, which is the single-family concept -- it’s the way I live; so I won’t play it down, although I do walk across the fence once in a while and say hello to the guy next door.
In condominiums there is the very concept of having to share accommodation in close proximity to other human beings and to take the responsibility of the running of it. I often say to people, “Are you mentally equipped to handle it? Has your consciousness been raised sufficiently to recognize that there is a dimension of sociability in human life and we don’t all live as atomic units in dire isolation from one another?”
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It’s tough to handle socialism.
Mr. Lawlor: “If you are a child of this society, then don’t move into a condominium. Stay home. Stay somewhere else.”
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Stay out of socialism.
Mr. Lawlor: “But if you are a vital, personable human being, desirous of and enjoying the presence of others, and having a certain maturity in terms of openness -- which is precisely the definition of maturity -- then by all means, it will be an invigorating experience. But you will to have play a role on the directorate; you will have to attend the meetings. It’s all very demanding and, like most demanding things in life, it’s very satisfying if you do it well.”
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Only you and I could make it, Pat.
Mr. Lawlor: As the concept declines, because there isn’t the ethos, there isn’t the spirit in this society to bind people together in his kind of union, they do it perforce; they do it without understanding the philosophy involved in the condominium concept. Again, despite the extent that we move to restructure it and make it more easy to accommodate, a long process of education is necessary in this particular field. The hard burdens involved in getting along inside that building, and with the common expenses and the common space to be enjoyed, offer a vision of possibly a new society.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If its socialism, I am withdrawing the bill.
Mr. Lawlor: What was that?
Mr. M. N. Davison: I think the minister is making a joke.
Mr. Philip: Did Sid Handleman get to him?
Mr. Lawlor: I’m afraid the minister is going to have to withdraw the bill, Mr. Speaker. It makes me feel badly, but if he doesn’t know the colour of the beast’s eyes -- I mean the beast he spends all his time talking about -- and shows so little understanding.
Ms. Gigantes: Bring in a private member’s bill.
Mr. Philip: Is the rent minister going to succumb to Mr. Handleman?
Mr. Lawlor: We’ve been destroying legislation like that for hours every day here. Practically every piece of legislation in the contemporary world is quasi-socialist, if not otherwise. How could it be otherwise?
Mr. Breithaupt: Why don’t you pass this bill quickly and prove it?
Mr. Lawlor: If we happen to be in the van of mankind, with the most imaginative concepts as to human development, what could you expect? If you want to move an inch, we’re already there; we have been there before --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: You are lucky it is me tonight.
Mr. Lawlor: Our difficulty is we are always moving on too quickly. Maybe we should dynamically stand still for a moment.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Oh, really, I’m going to use that one.
Mr. Lawlor: Those are a couple of the faults which have been mentioned here. As for the covenant for the vendor to take all reasonable steps to sell the other residential units, that’s a great thought. The situation continues and the legislation goes some degree to perpetuating it, although the bill modifies it by way of forcing the lease situation.
It became a scandal. There were a number of people who bought on the understanding their co-owners would be on a parity with themselves and that they would enjoy this particular form of co-determination and co-operation. Then they found that many of their neighbours, good fellows and good ladies as they may be, did not participate in the same concept of the living relationships that were assumed.
The condominium owner, as a pure, free- enterprising spirit, had bought up at depressed prices a number of condominium units, filled them up with whoever he could get in there, enjoyed the rental and thumbed his nose at the whole obligation concept that is behind it. In other words, he destroyed the concept root and branch.
One couldn’t expect people who were in the position of the lessees to regard it any differently than any other apartment house, from which the sooner they could move out, the better. They took no interest and no responsibility. As a matter of fact, the whole attitude worked diametrically opposite to the basic concepts. We will see just how far the modification of that position goes when we get into committee in this particular regard. We have mentioned the business of registrable deed and I think we can move on from there. The title disclosure provisions for purchasers and the possibility of the cancellation of the contract within a reasonable time and after second thoughts, I can’t help but find valuable and commendable.
The business of setting up a trust fund of those purchase moneys and holding them, again on certain terms and conditions under the legislation, gives a protection to the purchaser which he hasn’t previously enjoyed. That is very necessary. As to the business of giving some protection with respect to liens on the property, I think of two different kinds of liens. On the one hand, there is the condominium owner who has repairs done to his own personal premises and in the past has not paid his bills. Then along comes a repairman who has done this work and hasn’t got paid, and slaps a lien on the whole building. The business of making provision for that kind of thing, it seems, is allocated to the particular owner.
In terms of wider liens, there is a provision giving the condominium corporation some kind of power and force whereby it can recoup from that owner his own personal and specific account for which the condominium corporation has become responsible in one way or another.
The business of being able, in effect, to attorn the lessee with respect to the rents which the absentee condominium owner is collecting without paying his part of the common expenses and saying, “No, you can’t continue to do that; we will move in on that lease and take over the moneys forthcoming,” is a perfectly sensible provision.
There are a number of these things in the legislation which win one’s assent. Nevertheless, there are a wide number of these, some of which I have pointed out, which are not yet picked up into the legislation. Why the minister has failed in these areas to adopt the full provisions extended to him under that study that has been made by the condominium people themselves and of which we’ve been well aware for two or three years now, quite puzzles me. I would think that as we get into committee there might just be a few of your loopholes to he closed up, or at least more tightly bound than what you at present choose to do.
The only other thing I want to mention is under section 39, the modifications of the common elements. In the case of a fire or in the case of major repairs having to be done, 80 per cent of the individuals may agree upon going forward with the reparation of the premises et cetera. But if there’s somebody who dissents from doing so, your legislation makes it obligatory upon the others to buy him out. Isn’t that quite a burden to impose upon the other owners because you get one fellow or maybe a couple of people? Of course, the more there are, the more difficult it becomes. The fund that has to be collected from the other owners might be at that stage quite considerable and most of them might find themselves financially quite unable to do that. I wonder if that concept has been thought through as to what the full impact of it might be.
In some instances, this would be the very thing that a disgruntled condominium owner would be waiting for. What a glorious opportunity to unload and to force his particular unit off on to others who desire to retain the premises and to rebuild them as a living accommodation. Do you not build a position of advantage which is undeserved in that context?
This is complicated legislation. There’s a wide diversity of notions involved here. Some of the sections are, in my opinion, quite intricate, particularly with respect to the exceptions written in. It will require, I think, rather detailed study and it won’t be done overnight.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will attempt to be brief, notwithstanding I’ll probably fail in that attempt.
Mr. McClellan: The House leader wants you to be brief.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We wanted you to be brief too, but it didn’t make any difference.
Mr. Makarchuk: He didn’t speak.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: First, we have to say that we did not adopt the posture recommended --
Mr. Lawlor: I wasn’t elected to be brief, I was elected to be long.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- by the member for Lakeshore of dynamically standing still. Rather, we chose to dynamically move forward, as is always the custom over here. That being the case, we did move --
Mr. Lawlor: What you do is statically move forward.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- very expeditiously from the tabling of the Kealey condominium study group report. Members of the third party predicted I would not table that last fall before the House rose, but I did, in accordance with my commitment given last fail. I might point out we did move expeditiously in spite of the fact that members of the third party specifically --
Mr. Warner: Are you kidding? A wounded turtle moves faster.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- complained that we were moving too quickly. We weren’t allowing enough time, they said, for further study --
Mr. Philip: We predicted you would table it the last day and you did.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- for further input, further communication, before we moved to legislation. Instead, we opted to move rather quickly.
I’m happy to say that the people who went to work in my ministry did a very fine job -- an enormous job, as a matter of fact, starting at the end of January. This was the period of time we allowed municipalities and others to respond to the study group report. Starting from January 31, they moved under the guidance and expertise of two of my most able staff members whom I do want to mention -- Mr. Robert Simpson, Bob Simpson, who’s been mentioned earlier here tonight --
Mr. M. N. Davison: Don’t blame him.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- executive director of our business practices branch and Irv Kumer, senior counsel in that division. Together they worked hard and long to get a bill in shape early enough to have it presented here at the end of May. It was indeed a monumental task, and it was made more so by the fact that rather than proceed in a vacuum, we mailed out copies of the report of the Ontario Residential Condominium Study Group to each and every condominium corporation in this province. We sent a copy to all the municipalities in this province.
We used all the input we got through that extraordinary communications process to move towards the legislation we have before us today. I might say that in furtherance of that process of dialogue in co-operation, we did as promised: make all the responses we got available to both opposition parties so they might be in a position to deal with this legislation both now and in October.
We have dealt with 80 of the 126 recommendations of the Kealey report. All but seven have been dealt with and adopted in this legislation, either directly or co-laterally. All but seven of them are dealt with here. Some of the seven others, we have made clear, we might be dealing with at a later time, whether it’s an amendment to the Building Code Act or others. I made clear right from the start that, of course, this ministry could only deal with those things which came under our jurisdiction. We cannot, of course, deal with problems concerning alleged double taxation on condominium owners --
Ms. Gigantes: Alleged?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- with some of the other problems that have been pointed out with the planning process. But we have as we’ve moved towards this legislation, had Messrs. Kumer and Simpson working with representatives of the other ministries involved, TEIGA and Housing to name two, in order that they may be well under way along the road to bringing in their legislation at as early a time as possible.
Mr. M. N. Davison: What does that mean? Does that mean before October?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have heard the reservations expressed by the member for Carleton East and the member for Etobicoke, with regard to our concept of Condominium Ontario. I might say that I’m very proud of that recommendation. We think that any board, or organization that operates at the grass roots level of the problems, with 50 per cent participation by the people who are directly affected, is a heck of a better mechanism, than one attempted to be run by a single person or organization based at Queen’s Park in Toronto.
Mr. Philip: Why not 90 per cent then? That makes it 30 per cent better.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We just don’t think that sort of structure can do it as effectively as the structure close to the people, by the people, and right out there --
Mr. McClellan: Like HUDAC. HUDAC for the people. HUDAC by the people.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- in fact, with a direct contribution made by the persons involved.
Mr. Philip: What have you got against people running their own organization if they’re paying for it?
Ms. Gigantes: Are the developers paying for the cost?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It has been suggested by, I think, the member for Etobicoke, that we are asking condominium unit owners to pay for training the managers. Of course, that is just not so. We are not asking them to pay for the training. There is not a word in anything we’ve said --
Mr. M. N. Davison: Oh, come on. Read your own legislation.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- that calls for the training of property managers.
Mr. Philip: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. M. N. Davison: You haven’t even read the bill.
Mr. Ruston: There is nothing out of order. Mr. Speaker: What’s your point of privilege?
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, if the minister will read section 57, subsection 3(d), he’ll find it says “assisting in the formulation and the conduct of educational courses for property management.” I don’t know how you assist without assistance in the form of money.
Mr. Speaker: Order. What privilege contained in standing orders is the honourable member hanging his hat on?
Mr. Breithaupt: He doesn’t want the minister to mislead the House.
Mr. Philip: The minister alleged earlier, when you were not in the chair, that I could not point out the section in which condominium owners are paying for the professional development and upgrading of management corporations. He referred to that same item just now. I’m just pointing out to the minister that perhaps he should read his own bill and try to understand it.
Mr. Swart: Good point.
Ms. Gigantes: Read your bill.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The minister may be inaccurate in the eyes of the member for Etobicoke --
Mr. Martel: Deliberately.
Mr. Speaker: -- but I see no privilege of any member that has been abrogated. The honourable minister may continue.
Mr. Philip: I made my point.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to debate this clause by clause, although I do want to clear it up so that condominium unit owners throughout the province will not think they are being asked, or required, to pay for something that they are not being asked to pay for.
Ms. Gigantes: That’s right there in your bill.
Mr. Warner: They know who their defenders are.
Mr. McClellan: Dispense.
Mr. Martel: I thought you weren’t going to clause by clause. Speak to the principle.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It says specifically that the objectives of the corporation are extended to include, “(d) assisting in the formulation and conduct of educational courses for property management.” Of course, we have to arrange, we think, to permit those people who own units to be able to provide assistance, resources, explain some of the problems they are having to the people who are participating in those property management courses. There is not a word in here that says those courses shall be run by, paid for or funded by Condominium Ontario or anyone else.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Will you cover the cost?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We want to make it clear that the objects of that corporation must be such as to permit the members of Condominium Ontario to participate in any programs in which they wish to participate in order that they may properly lend their expertise and experience to property managers.
Mr. Philip: And staff time costs nothing.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I listened to the member for Etobicoke also trying to suggest that a minimal fee of $5 or so was ridiculous and unfair to unit owners. He then went on, not moments later, to suggest that a much larger payment, the five per cent payment to the reserve fund paid by those same condominium unit owners, was far too small. He wanted that reserve fund to have a much higher minimum than five per cent. He wanted 15 per cent.
Mr. Philip: For their own property.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We are talking about much larger dollars there. In one fell swoop, he moves from five per cent to 15 per cent and yet two minutes earlier he was complaining about a concept which calls for condominium unit owners to pay not five or 15 per cent of the common elements expenses but $5.
Mr. Philip: One is a tax while the other is paying into your own pocket. Why don’t you understand your own bill?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It’s not $5 per month or per day that we’re talking about, we are talking about, would you believe, $5 per unit per year.
Mr. Philip: We’re talking about more than that. You said so in this House.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He complains about that figure but he has no problem moving our five per cent payment into the reserve fund to 15 per cent.
Mr. Ashe: We know that they’re big spenders over there.
Ms. Gigantes: The sands are shifting under your feet. You had better be careful.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I also want to make it clear that in that section at all times whatever fee is levied will require the approval of the ministry, so that there will be some direct control over the amount of money that the condominium unit owners themselves choose to charge themselves and others.
I do feel obliged to deal with one sensitive point at this particular time. The member for Etobicoke has purported to speak for all condominium unit owners when he read a letter by Monica Rouleau, purporting that that was very representative of a lot of people. I don’t want to suggest that it is or isn’t. I just want to make the record clear that the member for Etobicoke was not able to rise in his place and read a letter written by or signed by those other people as individuals or as a group with whom Monica Rouleau sits on the Federation of Ontario Condominium Association.
Specifically, the single letter written by a single member of the condominium federation is in simple terms representative of her own view on that board. She is quite entitled to that point of view. To get the record clear, I invite the member to speak to the condominium federation and to rise in his place at a later time and report as to whether the condominium federation supports the concept of Condominium Ontario.
Ms. Gigantes: You better be careful.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: In reporting to this House my latest dialogue with them, as faithfully as the member has reported my latest dialogue with those same people through Monica, I can tell members that as of last Monday they remained as supportive of the concept of Condominium Ontario as they were when we began the process of dialogue with them last January.
Mr. Martel: You will never get the bill through.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: To get the record clear, he has correctly reported the reaction of one member of that group, Monica Rouleau.
Mr. Philip: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: There is nothing out of order, and the honourable member knows that.
Mr. Philip: On a point of privilege: I didn’t report one member. I reported two. There were only five who met with you. How many more do you want me to report?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Excuse me, I want to correct the record. The member for Etobicoke claims to be representing two members of that board, and that’s quite all right.
Mr. Warner: Is this a filibuster?
Mr. Philip: How many met with you?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member asks how many met with us, I think it was 10 or 11.
Mr. Martel: Why don’t you stick to the bill?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: More important than the 10 or 11, as opposed to your two, is that I don’t want to engage in a dialogue which undermines the unanimity and the single point of view presented by that very effective, responsible and well run condo- minimum federation.
Mr. Philip: I have a good report of what was said.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It is a decently run, effective organization and we have had nothing but co-operation from them.
Mr. Warner: You sound jealous.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for Etobicoke has come here this evening and reported parts of our dialogue last week. He reports, for example, no change in my attitude regarding the quorum as a result of a meeting we had last Monday.
Mr. McClellan: We are very sensitive tonight, aren’t we?
Ms. Gigantes: He is like a prickly bear.
Mr. Warner: Did you eat in the members’ dining room tonight?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am not going to undermine the work of the condominium federation by telling the House what some of the other members of that group might have said, except to say quite honestly, yes, that group has some problems with the quorum. I think it is also fair to say that they came and listened quite reasonably, as they always have, to the point of view that we had. They will tell honourable members that I agreed to listen further to the presentations they had made and to consider what they said last Monday. Indeed, they well understood the point I was making.
The point I was making, I might say, reflects very much the remarks of the member for Lakeshore, because the point I made was that while our quorum requirement requires 50 per cent in person or by proxy -- and I wanted to keep it relatively high -- the reason for my wanting to keep it relatively high at 50 per cent was to encourage as many people as possible, with the instigation of their individual condominium corporations and Condo Ontario, to take an interest and get involved so they would have that understanding and knowledge which the member for Lakeshore quite properly pointed out is so fundamental to living in and running and being a part of a condominium project.
I would like to let Condo Ontario and the condominium corporations work with the new legislation, and I would encourage them to do what a lot of them have been doing very effectively; that is to knock on the doors and say, “Come out to the meeting; and if you won’t come out to the meeting, will you sign a proxy? At least understand that there is something important happening at this meeting next Tuesday night here in our condominium project.”
If we reduce it below 50 per cent, then obviously it becomes easier to get a quorum and less pressure is needed to get at those doors and force people to get involved who, quite frankly, are lazy and reluctant in many instances to get involved.
Mr. M. N. Davison: What a patronizing attitude!
Mr. Warner: Name names.
Mr. Speaker: Order. If the honourable minister will address his remarks to the chair, he may find himself in less difficulty.
Mr. McClellan: He’s in a lot of difficulty.
Ms. Gigantes: He should also address the bill.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: With respect, I suspect you are mistaken, Mr. Speaker, but I will give it a try anyway.
Mr. Hall: You are not in Stratford.
Mr. Nixon: You really are arrogant.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: In any case, I think it is fundamental that everything we do should not simply be an attempt to pull everything in and say we can solve it all by legislation, but to draw legislation which encourages participation out in the condominium corporations.
Mr. Warner: You can’t solve anything.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: To draw the bottom line on that dialogue I had with the federation, I want to say that I have some reservations about it -- of course I do -- and I do want to think some more about it, as I hope the condominium federation is thinking more about its point of view, and see if we can’t resolve this in the most satisfactory fashion.
Mr. Warner: You know they want beer in the ballpark.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: In any case, quite honestly, I do not want to get in a game of bidding off who said what at our meetings with the condo federation. They have been most constructive, most helpful and most supportive. We look forward to receiving any reservations they have now, or will have over the months between now and October, and exchanging our points of view.
I want to confirm that while I obviously disagree with the remarks made by the one or two members quoted by the member for Etobicoke, fundamentally I agree with a lot they are saying; and a lot of what they are saying is reflected in this legislation, which in turn reflects 73 of the 126 recommendations made by the Darwin Kealey condominium study group.
Mr McClellan: Is that all?
Motion agreed to.
Ordered for standing administration of justice committee.
House in committee of the whole.
MUNICIPALITY OF METROPOLITAN TORONTO AMENDMENT ACT
Consideration of Bill 83, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.
On section 1:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Warner moves that section 5(5) of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act, as set out in section 1(1) of the bill, be amended by striking out the words “or any other person” in line five and inserting after the word “council” in line six the words “provided he continues to be a member of the council,” so that the subsection shall read: “At the first meeting of the metropolitan council and each year after a regular election at which a quorum is present, the metropolitan council shall organize as a council and elect as chairman one of the members of the metropolitan council to hold office for the term of the council provided he continues to be a member of the council and until his successor is appointed or elected in accordance with this act.”
Mr. Warner: I spoke earlier during the second reading of Bill 83 and made my remarks, I thought, quite clear as to my concerns about the democratic principle of having each politician elected by the people. Obviously, there is disagreement on that principle from the other two parties.
Mr. Hall: Call a press conference.
Mr. Warner: They’re not in favour of that, so --
Mrs. Campbell: That’s not true and you know it.
Mr. Hall: You know all about it.
Mr. Warner: -- my motion this evening will fail.
Mr. Martel: I know how you like to have it both ways.
Mr. Hall: You know better than that, Elie.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Martel: I know how you like to have it both ways.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Martel: All things to everybody.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Warner: What makes it particularly sad in this case, of course --
Mr. Epp: It’s a misrepresentation of the situation.
Mr. Warner: -- is that the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) stood here in the House just a few days ago and told us that we will not have --
Mr. Hall: You don’t know what went on.
Mr. McClellan: We all know what went on.
Mr. Warner: -- the legislation in relation to the Robarts report until after this fall’s election. That means that the election of 1978 -- I can address my remarks to the chair and ignore the remarks of those other members, Mr. Chairman. I’m quite prepared to do that.
Mr. Hall: Terrific.
Mrs. Campbell: Good.
Mr. Warner: So the election of 1978 will be fought on precisely the same basis as the preceding elections and we will not get an opportunity to make whatever amendments to the electoral process are deemed to be necessary or proper until following the 1978 municipal election.
Therefore, I think it’s particularly important that when we do have one opportunity here, a golden opportunity in front of us, to bring a measure of democratic principle to the forefront we should take advantage of that opportunity, because we don’t know when we’re going to get the next opportunity at it.
Therefore, I would urge the members of the assembly to think carefully about supporting my amendment so that in the 1978 election we will ensure that the chairman of Metro Toronto, the second most powerful position in the province of Ontario, is someone who will be elected by the voters and not appointed.
Mr. Chairman, I ask for the support of all members of the House on this motion.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, it’s obvious from the comments I and my colleagues made in response to Bill 81 that we will not be voting with the party to my left on this amendment. As you will recall, it was this party that suggested the change should be made and the New Democratic Party at that time thought it was a good idea.
Mr. Warner: But you changed your mind.
Mr. Epp: But we clearly indicated that we should not be making it at this time because this was essentially a housekeeping bill, because what was being recommended was a major amendment, and that we would be bringing in an amendment to have the chairman elected --
Mr. Warner: When?
Mr. Epp: -- a principle we highly endorse, at the time that we deal with the government’s response to the Robarts report.
Mr. Warner: When’s that going to be?
Mr. Epp: The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere is asking me to be a soothsayer or some kind of accurate prophet and --
Mr. Warner: You’ve got a lot of faith in Darcy.
Mr. Epp: -- I don’t intend to play that game, Mr. Chairman. Although we agree with the principle we feel that this is not the time to do it.
You will recall, as I pointed out only a few days ago, how the critic for intergovernmental affairs for the New Democratic Party also clearly indicated that this was not the time to do it and that there is no appropriate way to do it here in the hill. So they have a spokesman who thoroughly agrees with us.
I just want to point out two things: I wonder who is speaking for Metro Toronto, because I have two amendments before me which are the same with respect to part 1 of Bill 83. One comes from the intergovernmental affairs critic, Mr. Swart, and the other comes from Mr. Warner. I’m just wondering if the real metropolitan critic would stand up and let himself be heard. Maybe he has, I’m not sure.
Mr. Ashe: Play musical chairs.
Mr. Epp: It’s a little confusing when you get the same amendment from two people within the same party with different names.
Mr. Nixon: That’s a very good point.
Mr. Epp: We will vote against this bill, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. McClellan: Yes, we know that.
Mr. Nixon: Yes, let’s do it now.
Mr. Epp: We do, however, agree with the principle that it should be changed and at the appropriate time we will produce our own amendment.
Mr. Martel: We’ll support it.
Mr. Kerrio: That’s enough reason, Ella. That’s plenty of reason.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, I would just inform the member for Waterloo North that we have more than one person from Metro Toronto so, therefore, we’ll have more than one speaker on this bill.
Mr. Epp: Have you got some more amendments? What is your justification?
Mr. Nixon: Since you know you have only two colleagues left to listen to you.
Mr. Swart: We have one person who may be speaking on the principle but another from Toronto who may have real concern about this.
I’m not going to put forth the argument again in support of the principle of this amendment. They’ve been put forward clearly and persuasively and indisputably by my colleagues in this party. The reasons why regional chairmen should be elected, whether they’re in Metro or whether they’re in any of the other regions, all comes clown to the whole question of democracy and accountability.
We won’t go into that in detail. We’ll just say that after having gone over that issue at least 10 times on the 10 bills that we’ve had before us, if the members opposite and the members to the right haven’t changed their minds, they’re not going to do it if we go over this once again. I know the Tories are not going to change their minds because they don’t believe in the basic principle of electing a regional chairman.
I quote from the whip, the member for Mississauga (Mr. Gregory), when he was speaking on Tuesday night relative to this issue of election of the regional chairmen. He made these comments: “I would support pre-election for most elected offices. I do find, though, when you’re talking about chairmen of regions, I think it more important that the proper man for the proper job he elected.” To paraphrase that, I guess, you could correctly state that regional chairmen are just too important to leave to the electorate to decide who those chairmen shall be. I don’t think that’s an unfair paraphrasing of that.
In fact, I would think the party across doesn’t even trust the councils as well. The member for Durham West (Mr. Ashe), made the comment in this House when he was speaking to the election of the regional chairmen that the amendment which we had before us would make it possible for the mayor of a major municipality to be the chairman. He said this: “Yet if you look again at this particular amendment, what it says in theory -- and I appreciate it may not happen in practice -- but it can happen that the mayor of Oshawa, for example, could end up being the regional chairman of Durham, or the mayor of Pickering or the mayor of whatever.”
Once again, he doesn’t feel that the regional councillors should have the right to determine who might be their chairman. He doesn’t feel they have good enough judgement to decide who should be picked as the chairman of the region. So there’s not a great deal of point, I think, in arguing again with the members across the House on this issue.
The members to my right, if we can believe what they have said, don’t need to be persuaded. They say they are ready for it. We know that back in 1973, I think it was, when Hamilton-Wentworth was formed, they moved a motion then that the regional chairman be selected from among the elected people in the region. In the program that they have just recently put out for the restructuring of Toronto, a main clause is that the Metro chairman shall be selected from among the elected people in Metro.
Mr. Epp: And that’s where you got the idea.
Mr. Swart: If my friend thinks we got the idea from that, it just doesn’t bother me a bit. All I say to the Liberals this evening is, support your own idea. If it was the Liberal Party’s idea a month ago or two months ago that the chairman of Metro should be elected --
Mr. Martel: Try voting for it.
Mr. Swart: -- then, when they have the opportunity, I suggest that perhaps they should vote for it.
Mr. Kerrio: When you support us, Mel, we begin to wonder.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, I could quote at great length from Hansard in which the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) has stated that they support the election of regional chairmen; that’s a very strong principle with his party.
Mr. Nixon: When he was speaking, you said he was out of order.
Mrs. Campbell: Exactly.
Mr. Swart: The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk also said it is a very strong principle.
Mr. Epp: I notice you’re not quoting yourself in that speech.
Mr. Swart: But they are not going to vote for it, even though they have moved amendments for it in the past and even though they have consistently stated that as a principle. When they get the opportunity to vote for the election of the chairman, they are not going to vote for it.
There are just two points I want to make about the election of the Metro chairman which should be made in addition to the points which were made about the others.
First of all, of course, it is the largest of all the regional governments. Metro Toronto spent something like $361 million in 1974 and the expenditures of Metro are now up to close to $500 million. They spent far more than all of the boroughs within Metro and yet the regional chairman is not a person who is elected by the public.
The second point I want to make, and I want to make this point very strongly, I say to the member for Waterloo North, is that there is no assurance whatsoever that we are going to have any bill before us with regard to Metro Toronto or any other regional government. It is nonsense to say that we are going to move an amendment or support an amendment when the bill comes before us for the changes in Metro Toronto, because the bill may never come.
The Liberals have the opportunity right at this point, if they mean it, to vote for the election and, because we have more members on this side, to bring about the election of the chairman in Metro Toronto.
We know the Tories, those people across from us, are not going to come with us on this issue.
An hon. member: They don’t believe in democracy.
Mr. Swart: They think the position of Metro chairman is too important to leave to the people to decide who shall be the chairman of Metro. But to those on my right I say, if they believe in it -- they don’t have any Liberal colleague now as chairman of Metro Toronto that they have to protect, as they do across the way --
Mr. Rotenberg: What would you do if he were an NDP chairman.
Mrs. Campbell: You wouldn’t appoint one.
Mr. Swart: My friends over there don’t have any say on whether there is ever going to be a bill before them again to give the opportunity; they know they can’t do it. Finally, I say to them that they have only one seat in Toronto at the present time --
Mr. Nixon: I am glad you said “at the present time.”
Mr. Swart: It might not be a bad idea for their own purposes, even if they are not interested in the principle, to let the people of Metro believe that they support democracy so much that they would like to see the regional chairman in Metro Toronto elected rather than be accountable in no way to the electorate.
This is the final bill, the 11th amendment we are going to have before us. It means that they would have to vote only on about nine per cent of all the bills. Perhaps they can summon up the courage or whatever it takes on this bill to support it and show the people of this province that the most important municipal person in the whole province should be accountable back to the electorate.
Mrs. Campbell: I sit in this House and I listen to what people say but I have never heard so much self-righteousness and so much sheer guff in my life than I have in this speaker.
Mr. Rotenberg: Go get him, Margaret.
Mr. T. P. Reid: He makes Billy Graham look like an amateur.
Mr. McClellan: You are making Rotenberg very happy.
Mrs. Campbell: There is no question and there has never been any question that this party does support, has supported and will support the election of the chairman of Metro as of other regional chairmen.
Ms. Gigantes: But --
Mr. Swart: But not when it is before you.
Mrs. Campbell: Come on! The member really is tiresome because so often he sits there in his magnificent self-righteousness and doesn’t pay any attention to what the people in this city believe.
Mr. Ashe: They are good spenders though.
Mrs. Campbell: The people, including the local municipalities, have asked that the matter of the major Metro bill be postponed because they can’t be ready for it in this election. It seems to me that if the member was a responsible person and not just using these chambers for politicking --
Mr. Swart: Vote for what you believe
Mrs. Campbell: -- then he would certainly wait to permit the local municipalities to complete their submissions and their deliberations as a result of the very horrifying paper presented by the Treasurer of this province in his reference to the reform of the area of the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto and its component municipalities.
I wonder if we could possibly just take a look at the situation where municipalities I am certain will be making their submissions and will be proceeding to adjust in one form or another to the election process at Metro, whether we have direct election or whatever we end up with. It seems to me that while the principle is paramount in the minds of the Liberals and always has been, one should not make this change until such time as we are dealing with a substantive piece of legislation. Things have to fit together. I believe that local municipalities are very much a part of the democratic process, I really do. If they want time to complete their submissions, really it’s not a denial of democracy if we say, “Fine, but get your submissions in soon.”
As far as I am concerned, I could very easily vote with the NDP tonight, but I would feel that I was posturing at this point. Surely we should get on with a housekeeping bill, clean up the odds and sods in this bill and then deal in a comprehensive manner with the Metropolitan Toronto Act which will be before us sometime in the fall or subsequently at least -- yes, to the next election. It seems to me that’s the time to make all of your changes and to ensure that you really know a member when you see one, as to who is going to be the new chairman of the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.
All I want to do is to try to bring some kind of reason into this debate as it pertains to our position. It may be that we have some other matters to contend with in reference to the election of the council itself before we come to the deliberation as to how the chairman will be elected.
Mr. McClellan: I’m sorry to see the member for St. George is leaving.
Mr. Ruston: That’s understandable.
Mr. Nixon: There’s nothing more to be said.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Lucky any of us are staying.
Mr. McClellan: The Liberal Party flips, the Liberal Party flops, the Liberal Party crawls on its belly like a reptile. One of these days the Liberal Party will summon up --
Mr. G. Taylor: What a mean comment. Unbecoming.
Mr. Rotenberg: That’s unparliamentary.
Mr. McClellan: What would you know about being unparliamentary, Mr. Deputy Chairman?
Mr. Rotenberg: You dish it out but you can’t take it.
Mr. Chairman: Order. Order. Would the honourable member make his remarks to the chair and in reference to the amendment before us?
Mr. Lane: Go out behind the barn and settle your differences.
Mr Ruston: He wouldn’t know how to behave.
Mr. McClellan: Absolutely, Mr. Chairman. I have in front of me a document entitled, Local Government in Metro Toronto -- the Liberal Proposal, dated May 1978. On page six of the document it says, under V, “The Metro chairman would be elected by and from the members of Metro council.” That is under the general rubric “under our system,” and this is part of the Liberal Party’s program for Metropolitan Toronto.
Mr. Epp: In response to the Robarts report.
Mr. Ruston: That’s right, take it out of context.
Mr. McClellan: If the Liberal Party wishes to disclaim its policy it will be --
Mr. Ruston: Just be honest, that’s all. You’re misleading the House, you’re reading it out of context.
Mr. Chairman: Order:
Ms. Gigantes: Did you hear that?
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Chairman, would you ask that gentleman to withdraw that remark, please?
Mr. Chairman: I say to the member for Essex South that it’s not within the orders of the House and I would ask the member to withdraw it.
Mr. Ruston: I’d like to correct one thing, Mr. Chairman. I’m the member for Essex North, if you don’t mind.
Mr. Chairman: I’m sorry.
Mr. Ruston: I think it’s misleading within the context. What I said was he is misleading the House by reading it out of context. I think that would not be misleading the House in that way, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: I ask the honourable member to withdraw the term “misleading.”
Mr. Ruston: Very good, Mr. Chairman. I will withdraw the word “misleading”; but I am sure he is trying in some way to dislocate members by reading the thing out of context.
Mr. McClellan: I wouldn’t want to dislocate the members to the right of me any more than they already are. They seem to suffer from terminal schizophrenia. They talk in terms of principles and policies, but most consistently they refuse --
Mr. Kerrio: Is this a bill we’re debating? Is there a bill on the floor?
Mr. Rotenberg: You suffer from terminal verbosity.
Mr. M. N. Davison: The truth hurts. Interjections.
Mr. McClellan: How sensitive they are, Mr. Chairman.
Again to quote from the Liberal Party proposal, I gather that the issue of whether or not the Metro chairman should be elected by and from the members of Metro council is the central component --
Mr. Kerrio: Tell us what you think about it. Have you got a position? Are you going to share it with us?
Mr. McClellan: -- of the Liberal Party’s new strategy for making grand inroads into the Metropolitan electorate. My advice, Mr. Chairman, respectfully, is that --
Mr. Kerrio: God, we’ve really got you frightened, haven’t we? We have really got you boys on the run. You’re not even talking about the government anymore.
Mr. Epp: Tell us what you are going to do when you are in fourth position?
Mr. Kerrio: When are you going to get around to that? Having problems?
Mr. McClellan: I can wait all night.
Mr. Kerrio: So can I.
Mr. Rotenberg: You can’t take it, can you?
Mr. McClellan: I can take it fine.
Mr. MacBeth: You can dish it out but you can’t take it.
Mr. Kerrio: You haven’t said anything yet.
Mr. Chairman: I’d remind the committee that we are debating the amendment before the House. If the honourable members don’t wish to debate it we will take a recess.
The honourable member may continue on the amendment.
Mr. McClellan: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am debating the amendment, which is in line with what I understand to be Liberal Party policy. I am trying to encourage my colleagues in the Liberal Party to support our amendment which would -- as I say -- cause the Metro chairman to be elected by and from the members of the Metro council.
I have a great deal of respect for my colleague from St. George, quite sincerely, and I say to her -- I suspect she may be listening outside --
Mr. MacBeth: Don’t count on it.
Mr. McClellan: -- the issue of the election of the Metro chairman is independent of the package of reforms that are required with respect to Metropolitan government in the Toronto region. The issue of the election of the Metro chairman is an issue in itself and has validity as an issue in itself, apart; from the broader issue of additional legislation which may be forthcoming at some time in the future.
There is a clear consensus within the Metropolitan community that the regional chairman in Metropolitan Toronto ought to be elected, ought to be accountable to the electorate, ought to face the electorate at regular intervals, the same as every other political leader in this province and in this country.
It is not simply a question of the principle of democracy although the principle of democracy is again sufficiently compelling to persuade any sensible person to vote for our amendment. The issue is also the quality of government in the Metropolitan area. Anyone who is representative from the Metropolitan Toronto area will know, without any equivocation or uncertainty, that there is a qualitative difference between the administration of the governments of the area municipalities and the administration of the government of the corporation of Metropolitan Toronto. The bureaucracies of the area municipalities are infinitely more sensitive both to the needs and to the demands of the citizenry for service, for courteous and prompt and efficient service, than is the government and administration of the corporation of Metropolitan Toronto.
I won’t repeat the example I used in the second reading debate of the planning process involving all levels of government with respect to the Frankel-Lambert housing development, but I note again that the corporation of Metropolitan Toronto seemed incapable of adjusting itself, of accommodating itself, of making the kinds of give and take arrangements that every other level of government was able to do from the federal level right down to the area municipalities and the school boards. It was only the corporation of Metropolitan Toronto that seemed incapable of engaging in that kind of cooperative planning process.
Those of us who represent ridings in Toronto city will know that some of our roads are unfortunately under the jurisdiction of the corporation of Metropolitan Toronto. Dundas Street, for example, in my riding, one of the four major commercial streets in the riding of Bellwoods --
Mr. Epp: What’s that got to do with the amendment?
Mr. Ashe: That has nothing to do with the amendment at all.
Mr. McClellan: If you would listen, I’ll explain to you.
Mr. Nixon: We’re going to vote in four minutes.
Mr. McClellan: I’ll be finished in four minutes.
Dundas Street, in my riding, is a Metro road, and it is the only Metro road in my riding. I say to you it is virtually impossible to get service on the road. Unlike the other commercial streets in the riding, which are under the jurisdiction of the city --
Mr. Epp: Point of order: Could we have the member please speak to the amendment as it is before us rather than about roads in Metropolitan Toronto?
Mr. McClellan: The argument I’m making is that there is a qualitative difference between the administration of Metropolitan government, on the one hand, and the area government on the other.
The qualitative difference is directly related to the fact that the head of government of the Metropolitan corporation is not accountable. He’s not accountable to anybody. He never has to face the electorate, unlike the House leader who faces the electorate at regular intervals --
Hon. Mr. Welch: Every year.
Mr. McClellan: -- every year -- the Metropolitan chairman does not, and it’s reflected in the administration. It’s reflected in the attitude of commissioners within the Metropolitan corporation; they are as different as night and day. I say to you that the Metro roads commissioner is as different in his attitudes towards even --
Mr. Ruston: The elected chairmen?
Mr. McClellan: Even aldermen -- alderpeople --
Mr. Ruston: You should be talking about elected chairmen.
Mr. McClellan: -- than are the commissioners for the area municipalities. That is simply a reflection of the fact that we don’t have a democratic system of government. That flaw, that disease, infects the spirit of the administration. That is a palpable sense that one can get if one is trying to deal with governments within the Toronto region.
The issue is very clear and the remedy is very clear. The remedy is before us in the form of an amendment. The amendment is supposed to be consistent and identical with Liberal Party policy. The issue is an issue which is not integrally related to the overall package of municipal forms for the Metropolitan area. It is an issue that is compelling on its own merit. I ask, once again, for the Liberal Party to screw up its courage and vote for the amendment.
Mr. Chairman: Are members ready for the question?
All those in favour of Mr. Warner’s amendment to section 1(1) of the bill will please say “aye.”
Those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
Sections 2 to 7, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 8:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that section 149(4) of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act, as set out in section 8 of the bill, be amended by striking out the word “the 10th day” in the third line and substituting therefor the words “30 days,” so that the subsection shall read:
“A bylaw under this section, and a bylaw amending or repealing any such bylaw, shall be passed no later than 30 days prior to the last day for posting notice of the offices for which persons may be nominated in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1977 and shall not be passed unless it has received the approval of the Ontario Municipal Board.”
Mr. Swart: I would expect that perhaps this would be acceptable to all sides of the House. It does exactly what was done in the other bills. At the present time, the proposals in Bill 83 --
Mr. Nixon: Let’s buy this one. Next.
Mr. Ashe: We agree.
Motion agreed to.
Section 8, as amended, agreed to.
Mr. Roy: If you put something reasonable, we’ll agree.
Mr. Nixon: Convince us of something else.
Section 9 agreed to.
On section 10:
Mr. Epp: The party to my left has put an amendment to section 10. However, we do not believe that we should concur with the amendment.
Ms. Gigantes: Let us put it first.
Mr. Chairman: Order. The chair has not received an amendment.
Mr. Epp: Let me then speak to section 10 of the bill which suggests that the members who sit on the Metropolitan police board and are representatives from the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto should be paid. We do not concur with the principle that they should be paid, but rather that they should be treated the same as they are in other regional municipalities. Similarly, they should be treated the same as other members of Metropolitan Toronto who serve on other committee and are not paid. Therefore, we would suggest that section 10 remain as it originally is in section 178 of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.
Mr. Swart: I’ll move my motion which covers the issue that the member spoke to.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that section 178 of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act, as set out in section 10 of the bill, be deleted and the following substituted therefor:
“The Metropolitan Toronto corporation shall provide for the payment of a reasonable remuneration, not being less than the minimum prescribed by the regulations under the Police Act, to the members of the Metropolitan board appointed or designated by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, except the member designated by the Lieutenant Governor in Council under section 177(1)(c).”
Mr. Swart: I want to make it clear that my amendment does exactly what the member for Waterloo North stated he wanted to be done but I don’t see any other way of doing it except by moving the amendment. As it presently stands, the act provides that those members from Metro council cannot be paid. Perhaps I should read the amendment which you have before you in Bill 83. It states:
“The Metropolitan corporation shall provide for the payment of a reasonable remuneration, not being less than the minimum prescribed by the regulations under the Police Act to the members of the Metropolitan board, except the member designated by the Lieutenant Governor in Council under clause (c) of subsection 1 of section 177(1)(c).”
Under this act it makes it mandatory that the members appointed from regional council must be paid. The intent of my amendment, and what it actually does, is to provide that the regional council may pay them if they so wish, but they’re not compelled to pay them. They don’t have to be paid. If those members who sit on the board --
Mr. Chairman: Order. There seems to be a number of private conversations.
Mr. Swart: You’re so right, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MacBeth: We want to hear something intelligent.
Mr. Swart: It should be left to the Metropolitan Toronto council to decide whether they wish those persons who are serving on the police commission to get any extra remuneration. That’s exactly what I thought the member for Waterloo North said. But that is not provided either in the present act or in the amending bill that is before us. My amendment does that, therefore, I think it is a reasonable amendment. I suspect perhaps the parliamentary assistant to the Treasurer might be willing to accept it.
Mr. Ashe: Mr. Chairman, we support the amendment. As the member for Welland Thorold indicates, it does give the flexibility to the Metropolitan council to decide whether they wish to provide further remuneration or no further remuneration to their representatives on the police commission. So we have no problem with the amendment as proposed.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Hear, hear.
Mr. Warner: Even the Treasurer agrees.
Motion agreed to.
Section 10, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 11 to 15, inclusive, agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: That puts the Grits on the spot. They haven’t figured out which way they are going yet.
Mr. Haggerty: You should know, Darcy.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: You have to be protected. You better have a caucus in a hurry and figure it out.
Mr. Roy: We know which way you are going, and that’s backwards.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The greatest lack of principle of any party --
Mr. Makarchuk: Right on, Darcy.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Flip-flop, that whole party.
Mr. Swart: They’re going to do it again in five minutes.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: You’d better get Smith in here and whip you in line.
Mr. Haggerty: He’ll whip you in line.
Mr. Chairman: Order. Are there any other comments on any further section?
Mr. Haggerty: You know what OHIP means, Darcy?
Mr. Roy: Never mind OHIP; he’s been going backwards ever since --
Mr. Chairman: I would like to remind the members that this will be a 10-minute bell with one stacked amendment.
The committee divided on Mr. Warner’s amendment to section 1(1), which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 19; nays 48.
Section 1 agreed to.
Bill 83, as amended, reported.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with amendment.
The following bill was given third reading on motion:
Bill 83, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.
Mr. Roy: Darcy, that’s the only bill you’ve passed all week.
Mr. Makarchuk: The Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Rhodes) looks great in the Premier’s chair.
Mr. Martel: Is that the real Bill Davis?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before moving the adjournment of the House I will say we will be back tomorrow, sharp at 10, and we will do Bills 121, 110, 111, 85, 91 and 96.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 10:35 p.m.